THE quiet of the county Meath countryside was shattered by the sergeant major bark of Steve Parkin.
“Matty Taylor, that’s superb sunshine!” boomed City’s diminutive number two as the squad went through a two-touch drill at their Irish training base yesterday.
It might not have had the same tranquil effect as the birdsong in the trees but Parkin’s praise must have been music to the ears of the defender.
For Taylor, just being put through his paces with the rest is reward enough after a “write-off” year.
The centre half is not sure of his Valley Parade prospects – with players expected to move on to free up the budget, Taylor’s name could well be on that list.
But the fact that he is playing football again is a major boost after the serious foot injury that has laid him low since January.
“There’s nothing more frustrating for a footballer than being injured,” said Taylor, who made his comeback in the second half against UCD on Tuesday.
“It’s a horrible time, especially when you’ve got quite a serious one, but being out there like this again makes all the hard work worthwhile.
“It is probably one of the best facilities that I’ve ever trained on. It makes a difference as a player when you turn up and look at the scenery and the pitches we’ve got.
“The surface is fantastic and they’ve watered it especially for you. It makes for quick sessions and the training has been excellent all week.”
The doctor who carried out the operation on Taylor’s right foot sent him a picture, which the player immediately posted on Twitter. It was not for the squeamish.
Taylor added: “I had quite a big tear in the tendon that runs across the bottom of the foot.
“It caused the second toe to come out of its joint because the tendon had ruptured. It was horrible.
“I probably had a slight tear in it at the start of the season. I carried on playing and had a couple of injections which made it better for a short while but were probably doing more damage.
“Then we played (a private game) at Leeds and I turned to sprint for a ball. I felt this horrible sensation in my foot and knew something was seriously wrong.
“I had six weeks in a cast after the operation when I was just sat around because I couldn’t put any weight on it.
“It was hard but you’ve got to look ahead and have an aim, which was to get back for this season. Touch wood, I’m near that goal.”
Taylor is open-minded about his prospects. He just wants to play again and show the football world that he is still around.
“I’ve got to be realistic. If that doesn’t happen at Bradford then I can’t go another season with not playing.
“Last season was a write-off. I went out on loan and did well at Colchester but didn’t really play after that.
“I can’t affect that now and it’s all about looking forward to the year ahead.
“It’s up to me to have a good pre-season and put myself in a position where I can play. If not, then we’ll assess it.
“People forget you’re there when you don’t play football. They don’t remember what you’ve done in the past.
“I need to be back performing on the pitch and I’m trying to give myself the best opportunity for that.”